Aim High With Online Marketing

By claire |

homegraphicThere are several ways to measure and track the successes and challenges of your online marketing.  But, before you dive in and implement these tools and tactics,  there are a few steps that must be taken.

1. Define Success

In business, “success” is subjective and what may seem to be successful for one campaign may be seen as detrimental to another. Ensure that members of your team (and your client!) have a solid grasp on what success means for the particular campaign on which you are working. Does success mean a high number of hits to your website? Or does it mean positive response from the community? Will you measure success by lead conversion, traffic or a combination of the two? Set goals that are measurable, realistic and specific and communicate these goals with your team in a public space.

2. Choose your Tools

With so many options for tracking online success, it is imperative that you choose a tool that is right for your company. For example, Google Analytics allows users to set and track goals. But, there are many other tools that measure a range of variables.  To determine which tool is right for you, consider the metrics you would like to measure and why each is important. Find one tool that measures all of your outlined metrics, or find several tools that measure them individually. Either way, set up a system that works for you.

3. Create a Results Report

What good are results if they aren’t shared with your team or client? Determine a system for communicating whether your goals have been reached to your team. Celebrate success (however you define it!) and brainstorm solutions in instances when goals are not met.  Measuring campaign progress will create a spirit of team work, and perhaps throwing incentive into the mix will create a little friendly competition that increases productivity! Share success with clients and members of your network through a newsletter. Get advice and feedback from your network using social media.

When tracking goals and measuring success, communication is key! Results are no good if they are kept to yourself and goals can not be met unless they are defined. So, before you set your goals talk to your team and client–but above all, aim high and the sky is the limit!


Making Money Online through Pay-Per-Click

By claire |

Posted by Sumontro Roy.

There are two ways to make money on your website: selling goods/services and advertising revenue. Have you ever thought about bringing in additional revenue through your website? If you have, there are  easy ways to jump start that cash with advertising. advertising

You can approach advertising on your site in one of three ways: CPM (Pay Per Impression), PPC (Pay Per Click) and Pay Per Sale (or Lead). Well, this is great to know, if you are a large, well known company and advertisers are contacting you. But what is your site is relatively unknown? Then what? If you are unknown and other companies are not contacting you to advertise on your site, you can join an affiliate network. This will allow you to be a part of a network where in you can connect with different advertisers. Choosing an affiliate program is all about knowing your target audience. Start with knowing your target demographic and picking an advertiser based on that knowledge.

Within the affiliate network, you will be presented with 3 different advertising options; CPM, PPC and Pay Per Sale or Lead.

1. CPM (Pay Per Impression): You, as the website owner, are paid by the number of times an advertisers’ banner is displayed on your website. Every time your website is loaded, the advertisement is as well. An impression signifies the number of times a banner is displayed on your website. CPM stands for Cost Per Thousand so $6 CPM means you receive $6 per 1,000 views. This would be a good solution for a site that attracts a high number of visitors.

2. PPC (Pay Per Click): You, as the website owner, are paid each time a user clicks on the advertisers’ banner. The going rate is usually higher than CPM since you are being paid when the user takes action. Obviously one should always be cognizant about which advertisers’ banners they place on their site, but with PPC, one should pay careful attention to the actually website demographic as a dental site with an advertisement for sugar free gum will most likely see more action than an advertisement for a candy bar.

3. Pay Per Sale (or Lead): You, as the website owner, are paid each time a user clicks on the advertiser’s banner and either purchases (sale conversion) or completes one of the required actions (ie: signs up to receive more information). This has a higher payout than CPM or PPC, but one must also be particularly well informed about their demographic as you are asking the user to complete 2 actions – clicking on the advertisement and taking a follow through action.

Here are some links to affiliate network sites:

When choosing which online advertising option is best for you, the key is to think about your target audience. What kinds of goods or services would your target audience be drawn to?  Figure that out and with a few clicks of the mouse you can make the most of your online advertising!

Feel free to contact the Team at Perks to develop and implement an effective SEO/SEM and Online Campaign for you – we look forward to hearing from you!


The Cents (and Dollars!) of Using Online Marketing

By claire |

piggy-bank-on-money-md1As we constantly move towards a society where daily tasks such as paying the bills, ordering food and shopping for clothes are being performed online, new opportunities to approach, reach and target your clients are beginning to emerge. Online marketing has a number of benefits, especially for small business owners. It’s fast, efficient, environmental friendly, but most of all, it’s cost-effective!

Besides the obvious benefits of eliminating mailing and printing costs, here are some important factors to take into consideration.

The two-way communication process. The feedback from your consumer makes it easy to adjust and update your online campaign. If you notice that certain copy or images needs to be changed, this is an easy fix. Imagine doing a print campaign and realizing along the way that you’re not getting the results that you’re looking for. The cost and time it would take to make the necessary edits would probably mean a financial setback for your business.

To receive feedback from the consumers while doing an offline marketing campaign requires the consumer to mail or call. People don’t have the time to do this and valuable information gets lost. Online marketing allows clients to have an ongoing communication with the actual company, and most importantly the company can very fast adapt according to their audience.

Another way to track the results of your campaign is to set up SEO keywords. The campaign can get customized and constantly updated based on your consumer’s reaction and feedback.

There are numerous communication channels to be utilized in online marketing. The primary channel is  the web, but also e-newsletter, social media platforms audio and video. Speaking of email marketing, there’s nothing easier for a potential client to forward and/or share the email that is being sent out. Today, an increasing number of companies are integrating social media with e-marketing. TopRank’s online marketing blog featured an interesting post about the so-called “Share to Social” (S2S) link tonlinemkt3hat can be imbedded in an email marketing campaign. When sending out an email simply include this link, which tells the receiver to instead of just sending or forwarding the email, he or she should also make sure to share it with more people by utilizing social media platforms. Links to the platforms are imbedded in the email, which makes it easy for the receiver to spread the word about your products and/or services!


Dressing the Part for Networking Events

By claire |

picture-1Everyone’s feeling a little spunky around this time of year. Those of you who are still in touch with their inner child are looking forward to Halloween and dressing up. Those who have children are busy buying and coordinating costumes. We all look forward to this day to put on our wildest and enjoy the anonymity. However, this isn’t the mentality you should use when dressing for a networking event.

Uncertainty of what to wear plagues even the most seasoned of networkers. You want to be comfortable, but you want to make the right impression. You don’t want to be overdressed or worse, under-dressed. Finding that happy medium can be difficult, but there are a few tricks that may turn your next event into a real treat!

The first clue you can use to dig into your closet is the location of the event. Ask yourself: What is the setting? Is it at a bar? A five-star hotel? An office? Each of these locations presents different wardrobe options. For example, if you’re going to the second floor of a bar for a happy hour networking event, the dress code is more casual and relaxed. That being said, never dress below business casual. Remember, you are looking to meet people to do business with in some capacity, you want to present yourself in a professional manner.

Depending on your dress code at work, office wear can sometimes become tiresome. Networking events are a great, and an important, place to market yourself within the company. Feel stifled by your everyday wear? Accessorizing for events is the simplest way to spice up your wardrobe and add your own unique flavor without looking like a clown.

Happy Halloween and Happy Dressing!


Give Your Network the News

By claire |

resizedimage430215-plant_growYou’ve built an amazing network of contacts, potential clients and business partners. Great! But, think of your network like a plant–it only grows when it is fed and nurtured. Don’t go sprinkling MiracleGro on your contacts just yet. Networks are fed by information and engagement. So how can you engage your network?

Of course, you can use social media for quick updates and day-to-day engagement. But, don’t forget the power of a newsletter.  You can send a mass online newsletter to your entire contact book or you can opt to send a print letter to your inner-circle. Either way works as long as you understand how to effectively position and utilize your newsletter. Here are a few quick tips and benefits to keeping your network in the know. A newsletter can be used for:

News and Information

Keep your network up to date about your accomplishments. A newsletter gives your compmailbox1any a chance to shine and showcase its success. Also, keeping your network in the loop about your current projects may peak their interest and they may even lend a hand (or a contact!)

Education

By including relevant links and resources in your newsletter, you make it more interesting and, thus, engaging.  Your network will want to read your newsletter if you include interesting facts or links to articles written by yourself or well-known sources in your field. This also reminds your network that your company is a credible resource, with your finger close to the pulse of the industry.

Outreach

Sending out a cheerful and informative newsletter to a wide audience can help you expand your network. If your newsletter is effective and well-written, members of your network may pass it along to their friends and colleagues, allowing you to cast a wider net, increase brand awareness and explore new markets.

Reinforcement

Don’t let your network forget about you! Popping a monthly newsletter in their mailbox (electronic or not) reminds your network that you’re an innovator and expert that is constantly looking out for their interests.

Think newsletters are a thing of the past? Has social media replaced newsletters? Perhaps. But, there is something special about getting a personalized piece of mail that no tweet could replace.


Link in to a whole new network!

By claire |

linkedin4Linkedin is based on a simple philosophy, “Relationships matter.” In today’s competitive and tough economic landscape, it has become more important than ever to maintain and cultivate your relationships. Linkedin is considered to be the #1 social media platform for professional networking. Launched in 2003, Linkedin has grown into an online network that only a few days ago surpassed 50 million users from around the world representing 150 industries. The goal is to connect with former colleagues, potential business partners and/or old classmates to uncover business opportunities. Keep Linkedin’s philosophy in mind when you’re networking on Linkedin. Make sure to keep it professional and act as if every relationship is of great importance. This means that if you meet someone at a networking event make sure to follow up with this person and when sending out the request to connect, do not send out the standardized message. Make sure to include a short but personal note from your first meeting.

The most important on Linkedin is your profile. It needs to be perfect! In this case, perfect means completely filled out, flawless with no grammatical errors and preferably with additional Linkedin tools implemented. Think of your profile as your resume in depth. There are a number of tools and tricks that can be utilized to improve your profile so that it stands out and increases your business opportunities.

Enhance your search engine results by implementing strong key words. Both recruiters and individuals often use the search function. You will increase your chances of having your profile appearing if you make sure to spread out keywords on your page.

Update your status. By using Ping.fm or hellotxt.com your status can be pushed to all of your social networks at once. Just remember that Linkedin is not a place to write that you’re craving Jell-O. The status should reflect your work and provide the other users with the latest updates of what is going on within your company.

A great way to build your brand is to utilize the “Answer” function. Here is where you show your expertise by answering, but also by asking questions. By sharing knowledge within your network you’ll earn expert status and increased credibility.

Create and join groups. They are free to join and you’re allowed to join more than 50 groups. This is an easy way to explore and get access to a number of connections. By joining a group you can connect with the other group members, which might end up being your future business partner, customer or investor. Every group also has a discussion board where everything from tips and job postings to new opportunities and expert comments are displayed.

Ask for recommendations. There is nothing wrong in requesting a recommendation from previous colleagues, employer or clients, as long as you’re clear about your intentions. Remember that the more recommendations you write, the more people will recommend you.

This brings us back to one of the key points when utilizing any social media platform: you have to give in order to receive the benefits!


Facebook: Building your Brand Online

By claire |

Social networking is on everyone’s lips nowadays. No wonder. Not since the Internet took over people’s minds, money and time have we seen such a boom in the world of social and business networking. Social media is free and for everyone. What differs though is how people choose to utilize the social media platforms. Take Facebook for example. Some people like to take quizzes that tell them what animal they will be in their next life. Others choose a different approach: the approach that will increase their business, connections and career opportunities.

So what are the tricks for turning Facebook into a networking tool that will bring success to your company?

facebook1First of all, remember that social media works best when there is synergy. Simply put, social media comes best in pairs or more! Cyberspace is huge, but by utilizing multiple communication channels you will increase your chances of attracting people’s attention and interest.

When you set up a Facebook account, make sure to combine this with a blog and/or website. WordPress offers a tool that will link your blog to Facebook. Every time you publish a new post your Facebook friends will be notified.

Keep your Facebook page professional, but still personal. Adding a personal touch will build trust and create a more personal relationship between you and your clients. There is nothing wrong in adding pictures of family and friends. This shows your clients that you’re more than just a company.

The Flickr2Facebook uploader is an easy tool that allows you to upload your photos and then easily connect them to Facebook.

Add applications selectively. The applications should be related to your field and if they don’t say something about your business or what your business (not you as a person) is looking to achieve, you probably do best in not adding that application.

Sendible is another useful tool for business owners that want to schedule their updates. You can schedule status, feeds, comments, emails and much more. It’s perfect when you want to connect with all your social network contacts, but you don’t have the time or access to a computer.

From a business perspective, keep in mind that there is no reward for having 500 friends on Facebook. You’d rather have 80 qualitative business connections versus 700 where none of them work in your sector or share the same interests.
facebook2
Edit your news feed preferences in a way that is beneficial to your business. You may not need to know every time your news feed gets updated, but if someone your looking to do business with posts something you would want to know so that you can respond. That brings us to the last and one of the fundamental things when it comes to Facebook and any other Social media. Be active! It’s all about sharing your thoughts and ideas. Respond if you see an interesting comment, relevant question or feed. Let people know what you think. Only then will you experience increased engagement and conversation about your company!


Twitter: Launching Your Small Business in the Social Networking World

By claire |

Posted by Sumontro Roy.

With the growing popularity of Twitter and major brands already interacting online, it’s important for Small Businesses to understand the value of “becoming social.”

How important is it to be socially active?twitter-network

Ah, but it is extremely important! Building strong relationships with your target market is more important than ever before. Having the chance to listen, stay in touch and connect with thousands of people instantly is the real value of this new channel of instant communication.

However, you must clearly outline how to launch your brand in this social world before you jump on the social media bandwagon. Here are some key things to remember and ask about your business before going “live”:

  • Treat your brand as a
    person, define your personality
  • Identify your values and beliefs (Brand Identity)
  • What does your brand say that is different from others? What conversations can you join and make a real contribution? (Differentiation)
  • How can you make your conversation relevant to your business? (Promotion Strategy)

Remember, that, as human beings we like people who know how to listen to us, those that show us how much they care – that ultimately wins our trust. Building relationships is about having a rational and emotional connection and this is what your business now has the chance to do: Socialize and build loyal, lasting relationships with your customers, without even picking up the phone!

Importantly, social media is an extremely cost-efficient media selection for small businesses. And, given that a lot of such small businesses need to make the best possible use of their limited funds, it becomes that much more important to select, develop and implement an effective social media strategy.

Check out these Twitter tools that can help you identify your target market, join conversations that you want to be part of and deliver content based on your business strategy and expected ROI:

http://www.smbceo.com/2009/03/25/top-27-twitter-applications/

Video Link: http://smallbiztrends.com/2008/10/how-why-twitter-small-businesses.html

Feel free to contact the Team at Perks for developing an effective and efficient social media strategy for your business – we look forward to hearing from you!


The Aftermath: Post-Networking Event Follow Up

By claire |

people-networking2So, you did your research and attended a networking event that you were well-prepared for. What’s next? Networking doesn’t stop when the cracker plate is empty and everyone has gone home. The steps you take after a networking event are an essential part of effective networking. Next time you return from a networking event, follow these steps to make the most of your new found contacts.

1.      Reflect on your experience. Make note of what you did well and what you need to improve on. Networking events can be a great learning experience!

2.      Add all new contacts and their info into your Rolodex or contact management system. All details that you remember are important such as where they work, how long they have worked there, any common connections and noteworthy attributes.

3.      Send a follow up email to all new contacts and reach out to them on social media. Further explore their networks on social media to see if your networks overlap by looking for your new contacts on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Also remember to send a thank you to the host of the event if applicable.

4.      You can also post about the event on your blog or tweet about it.  Post any photos you may have taken from the event as well.

5.      Begin to strategize on how you can make the most of your new connections. What can you do for them? Can they do anything for you? Perhaps you can work together on an upcoming project. The possibilities are endless.

6.      Begin you plan of attack for the next networking event you are attending. If you don’t already have one scheduled, now is a great time to do some more research and start networking!


So, you’re at a networking event. Now what?

By claire |

networking_professionals1We all hear that networking is the key to success in business. Who you know  in a room is often more important than who you are. For that purpose, networking events have become a weekly staple for most businesses. However, many people feel intimidated at the thought of walking into a room full of people they don’t know and starting conversations with them. Preparing yourself for these events will lift the weight from your shoulders and allow you to network with the best of them.
Going in with the right mindset and goals will make your experience easier and more enjoyable.

Being genuine is one thing that people often forget when faced with these situations. They are so worried about making the right impression, that they completely forget who they are and why they are there. Focus on being your best you.  You are there to make connections and to gain clients, so establish yourself as an expert. Your confidence and knowledge about your field will leave a lasting impression.

When meeting people, you want them to want to know you. Articulating what you are looking for and how you can help them gives you the position of control. Even if the person you are engaged in conversation with has no direct need you can fill, they may know someone who does and will likely make that introduction if they understand your value.

Most importantly, don’t burn any bridges. Treating everyone you encounter with the highest regard will reflect well on you and your company.  Follow up with these people quickly after the event to brand yourself in their minds. This will prove to be the most effective in building relationships, contacts and clients.